Aung San Suu Kyi speaking to Amnesty International delegates at 2011 International Council Meeting

“The achievements of Amnesty International over the last 50 years can best be assessed by the fact that today the very name Amnesty International is practically synonymous with the defense of human rights. I think Amnesty International, almost more than any other organization in the world, created an awareness of human rights in all parts of our globe. Amnesty International’s work is not just in defending those whose rights had been violated but in making people aware of the need to defend those whose rights had been violated. This is a great achievement. Everywhere all over the world today, there are people taking part in Amnesty International, in Amnesty International’s campaigns for individual prisoners of conscious and for groups of political prisoners and those who are suffering from deprivation of human rights. We in Burma have benefited greatly from the help of Amnesty International.

“I’m told that members of Amnesty International sent me many letters of support throughout the years when I was under house arrest. I have to confess that not a single one of these letters came through to me. That shows that there is still much that needs to be done in Burma. We need to be guaranteed our basic human rights, as other people need to be guaranteed their basic human rights in other parts of the world. To be part of a movement for human rights is to be part of a movement to make our world more civilized, gentler, kinder, happier. And a movement in which anybody can take place is one that can achieve great results, as Amnesty International has shown.

“I’m not a member of Amnesty International, but I think one day I would like to be able to sit down to write to political prisoners in other parts of the world to encourage them, to tell them we have achieved basic human rights in Burma through the help from Amnesty International and we believe you also will achieve your basic human rights. That you will be free to trump unlawful arrests, unjust arrests, and you will be allowed to take part in the political and social and economic processes of your country, as you have every right to do. I look forward to such a time.

“There are many challenges ahead of us. There are still nations and peoples who do not think that basic human rights are as important as limited economic success. I do not belong to that group of people. I believe that economic success alone is not enough. Human beings have to be able to live as human beings in order to enjoy to the full the benefits of economic success. Because of that, I would like to emphasize that the greatest challenge today is to make people understand that economic success and the promotion of human rights need to go together. Economic success and human rights should not be seen as mutually exclusive. We should look to both to help us live fuller lives.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Amnesty International for all that it has done for human rights all over the world. That is to say for all that it has done to make this world a better place, a more secure place for human beings wherever we may be. I look forward to the time when we will be able to host such a meeting of Amnesty International in Burma. Thank you.”